School Holidays Extended Because of Quakes.
Plovdiv citizens are taking leaves en mass and flee from the town.
The school holidays are to be extended by 3 days in 32 settlements in the Assenovgrad region because of the tremours, reads the special order by Mayor Svetozar Shoumanov issued yesterday. For now, three school buildings with cracked walls were reported. Many of the citizens of the affected residential districts in the town of Assenovgrad moved to tents in improvised camps in the nearby meadows and at the stadium. Despite the cracked walls of the school building in the village of Kroumovo, where the epicentre is, the pupils started their lessons yesterday. Only three of the rooms were damaged. The mayor of the village ordered kids to be given breakfast in the open and to have no access to the dangerous rooms. Plovdiv's Mayor Ivan Tchomakov said that there were no applications for postponing the lessons in the town, so the lessons were carried out normally. Many of the Plovdiv citizens are taking leaves and flee from the town together with their families. After each quake the number of heart attacks is sky-rocketing, Plovdiv-based Emergency Medical Center employees said. The quakes in recent 24 hours totaled 7. The severest tremour was felt at 7:38 yesterday morning, measuring 3.4 on the Richter scale.
Needy People Will Be Granted Aids.
474 houses were reported damaged by the earthquakes in the Plovdiv region, Minister Nezhdet Mollov - chairman of the governmental emergency situation committee, said yesterday. Most of the damaged buildings are in the village of Kroumovo. Regional commissions of the Civil Protection State Agency are first inventorying the damages of the socially handicapped. Aids will be granted only to those, who really need them, Mollov is flat. Predominantly old buildings were affected being in want of maintenance. To Minister Mollov, the tremors didn't affect the new houses, that were built in compliance with the anti-seismic rules.
Earthquake Measuring 2.7 on Richter Scale Shakes.
Sofia, April 9 (BTA) - An earthquake epicentered some 130 km souththeast of Sofia was registered at 20:17 hrs local time on Tuesday, said Civil Defence.
It measured 2.7 on the Richter scale.
No injuries or materal damage are reported.
The tremour was felt in the region of the villages of Kroumovo, Yagodovo, as well as the city of the town Plovdiv.
Seismologists Expect No Strong Quakes on Bulgarian Territory Soon.
Sofia, April 9 (BTA) - Seismologists of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS) said they do not expect new strong earthquakes epicentered in Bulgaria. People in the epicenter area near Plovdiv (Southern Bulgaria) will continue to feel tremors for seven or ten days more which will be followed by about a month of tremors felt only by earthquake measurement instruments.
For the time being things are calm and if there are new tremors they will be weakening aftershocks, seismologist Boyko Rangelov of the Geophysics Institute of the BAS said. Five tremors of an intensity between 3 and 3.8 on the Richter scale were registered in Bulgaria from April 5 through 8. Earth tremors were also registered in neighbouring Balkan countries.
"We cannot speak of a chain reaction after the quakes in the Plovdiv region. No activation has been registered of the other earthquake zones in Bulgaria, Rangelov added.
The most dangerous zones in Bulgaria are near Kresna and Kroupnik (Southwestern Bulgaria), Gorna Oryahovitsa (Northern Bulgaria), Plovdiv (Southern Bulgaria), Sofia and Shabla-Kaliakra (Northeastern Bulgaria), seismologists recall. The last destructive earthquake in Bulgaria was in 1928 in the Plovdiv region.
The earth tremors of the past few days damaged 474 houses in the Plovdiv region, according to the latest data of the Standing Commission for Management of Natural Disasters and Industrial Accidents with the Council of Ministers.
LIBYA - BULGARIANS - TRIAL.
Libyan Lawyer Bizanti to Meet Six Bulgarian Medics Next Week.
Tripoli, April 9 (BTA) - Osman Bizanti, the Libyan defence lawyer of the Bulgarian medical workers sued in Tripoli, will meet them next week.
Bizanti met them twice after February 17, the date on which the People's Court of Libya announced there is insufficient evidence to substantiate a charge against the Bulgarians of conspiracy against the Libyan State and transferred the case to a civil court as it has jurisdiction only over state-related cases, BTA learned from Bizanti himself. He confirmed he will continue to act as defence lawyer for the Bulgarian medical workers who are charged with intentionally infecting 393 Libyan children with the AIDS virus.
There has been no new investigative proceedings and no new charges have been made, Bizanti said. If a new investigation is conducted in the future, the Bulgarians will be interrogated in connection with the charges already made - the infection of Libyan children with HIV and acts conflicting with the norms and tradition of Libya.
Five Bulgarian medical nurses and a Bulgarian doctor were detained in February 1999. A year later they were put on trial together with a Palestinian doctor and nine Libyan ones.
Bizanti has not information about the date of the court's sitting and he does not know whether the medics will be tried in Tripoli or Benghazi, the city in whose hospital the Libyan children were infected with HIV. He thinks, however, that most probably the trial will continue in Tripoli.
Russia To Backup BG for Bourgas - Alexandroupolis Pipeline.
Moscow insists Bulgaria to take an equal share with the other participants.
Russia supports Bulgaria's demands on equal share in the oil pipeline Bourgas - Alexandroupolis, it transpired from a letter, signed by V. Stanev - energy deputy-minister of the Russian Federation, which Vice-Premier Kostadin Paskalev received yesterday. Bulgaria, Russia and Greece have to take 33-percent shares in the oil pipeline, reads the letter. The trilateral meeting on sealing the final memo in Athens, fixed for April 14, is likely to be postponed once again, this time for early May. The reason is that none of the countries, participating in the project, is ready to be included in the trilateral consortium - 'Trans-Balkan Oil Pipeline'. Greece insists further on a 'fair', rather than 'equal' share participation. EU has already allotted 2.25 million euros to Greece on the project. A few days ago, IKB Deutsche Industribank AG and BNP Paribas have shown interest to finance the Bulgarian participation.
Sofia, April 9 (BTA) - The French Development Agency (AFD will provide five million euro in gratuitous aid for the construction of the second bridge over the Danube between Bulgaria and Romania at Vidin-Calafat.
Bulgarian Transport and Communications Minister Plamen Petrov and Georges d'Andlau, Deputy Director of a Directorate of the AFD, signed an agreement on the funding Tuesday. The document is subject to ratification by the National Assembly.
The funds are part of a general financial scheme for the construction the bridge.
Last year the AFD also granted 500,000 euro in gratuitous aid which were used for preliminary studies for the construction of the bridge.
The funds necessary for the construction of the bridge are estimated at 207 million euro. Late last year Bulgaria and the European Investment Bank signed a financial agreement for 50 million euro.
BULGARIA - KOZLODUY - PRESIDENT.
President Purvanov to Decree Ratification of Framework Agreement with EBRD on Kozloduy Old Units.
Kozloduy, on the Danube, April 9 (BTA) - President Georgi Purvanov will decree the "Official Gazette" promulgation of a Framework Agreement between Bulgaria and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) regarding the operation of the Kozloduy International Decommissioning Support Fund (KIDSF), signed in London on June 15, 2001. The President made this statement during a tour of the N-Plant on Tuesday.
In the presence of Energy and Energy Resources Minister Milko Kovachev, the Chairman of the Committee for the Use of Atomic Energy for Peaceful Purposes (CUAEPP) Emil Vapirev, MPs and the management of the N-Plant, Purvanov explained his position on the fate of the Kozloduy Plant.
The President said he acknowledges the tremendous efforts to modernize the 440 MW reactors, their fundamentally new state and the prerequisites for further and ongoing operation. "At the same time, we cannot renounce agreements reached and commitments assumed by other governments," Purvanov said because, as he put it, Bulgaria will find itself in the same situation as when it declared a moratorium on its foreign debt payments in 1990.
"We cannot revise the agreement, we cannot afford to explode the dialogue with the EU, to go back to square one, to isolate ourselves," the head of state stressed. In his opinion, the way out is in the modernization of the generating units and in the negotiations with the European partners at the expert level and at the politicians' level. "If the International Atomic Energy Agency makes a positive assessment of the fundamentally new condition of Units 3 and 4, I will recommend that the Bulgarian Government familiarize the European governments with the results of their successful modernization, and that the CUAEPP license their prolonged operation."
The President called against the rushed utilization of the 100 million euros that have already been provided to help the reactors' decommissioning because "they would tie our hands in the further negotiations with the EU."
Regarding the demand for a referendum on the fate of the Kozloduy N-Plant, Purvanov stressed that such a referendum is unnecessary because there is a clear public consensus on the matter. "The referendum will not give us more clarity but will lead to useless debates on the subject," the President observed.
"The idea to complete the construction of the Belene N-Plant is no alternative to the problem of the Kozloduy nuclear reactors. It does not discharge us from our responsibility for their operation," the President said, stressing that both problems should be solved simultaneously in present and in future. Purvanov repeated the same arguments when he met with the Mayor and the Municipal Council of Kozloduy. "Bulgaria is and must remain an energy leader in the Balkans, must remain in the large family of nuclear power generating countries with all positive effects of this membership," President Purvanov said.
Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB) President Zhelyazko Hristov said Tuesday that he had written to President Purvanov, urging him to veto the law ratifying the KIDSF agreement with the EBRD and to schedule a referendum on the future of the N-plant. According to CITUB, this will give more arguments in the negotiations with the EU on the fate of Units 3 and 4.
In connection with the meeting of the EU-Bulgaria Joint Consultative Economic and Social Committee, which is forthcoming next week, Bulgarian Industrial Association President Bozhidar Danev said that the social impacts of the Kozloduy closure will figure high on the agenda of the meeting. According to Danev, more than 6,000 companies connected to the plant will be adversely affected by the closure of Units 1 to 4.
'Belene' NPP - The Puzzle.
If BG yields to Europe, we are to loose power 25 billion kWh.
Two statements of Premier Saxe-Coburg-Gotha caused alarm. In end-January, during the visit of Greece's PM Costas Simitis to this country, Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha committed the government with pre-scheduled decommissioning of reactors III and IV of 'Kozloduy' NPP in the framework of the term set by the EU - by end-2006. Simeon's statements caused a scandal. Three days ago, PM said, that 'Belene' nuclear power plant would be completed. If Bulgaria would give up to the EU pressure and close down reactors III and IV of 'Kozloduy' NPP till end-2006, it would actually mean that Bulgaria should do without 25 billion kWh in the period 2006-12. It means budget revenues less by $900 million. We should keep all that in mind, when calculating the investments necessary on finishing of the already built up reactor I of the 'Belene' NPP. We should only hope, that the statement of Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha on furthering the construction of 'Belene' NPP is not bound by the close-down of the reactors III and IV of 'Kozloduy' and that the NMS-led government will stand for the First Neclear Plant.
'Crown Agents': Customs Should Be Mended.
Elka Vladova - reinstated in her former office of deputy- head of 'Customs' Agency, was fired once again, 'Standart' learnt. Marian Abrashev was reinstated in the office in her stead. In the recent years, the customs administration retreated from the positions already taken. It is valid both for the personnel selection and their professional progress and skills, reads the report by the customs consultants from 'Crown Agents', Dimitar Tolev, deputy-head of the Agency, said on 'Darik' radio. The customs should be mended and the process is already underway, the report reads further.
Bulgarians Live on 4 Levs Daily.
In 2010 we will catch up with 40 percent of the EU living standards, maintain BSP experts.
The average per capita daily expenditures of the Bulgarians account for 4.07 levs, shows a survey made by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) on the spending of the population in the first trimester of 2002. Emilia Maslarova - deputy-leader of the Coalition 'For Bulgaria' PG, voiced the data in Dobrich yesterday. She refuted the data of the World Bank (WB), according to which the daily per capita expenditures of the Bulgarians amount to 5 levs. The living standards in this country are beneath the European poverty level which is minimum $2 daily, Maslarova said. To her, Bulgaria will hardly reach 40 percent of the last year's EU living standards as early as in 2010. The left-wing opposition will draft a Social Services Bill - such an act has never been enforced in Bulgaria, Maslarova said further.
BG Marine Paid for Varna-Based Shipyard.
Businessmen from Hamburg made the first order to the company.
Just before the payment deadline was to expire, the buyer 'Bulgarian Marine' (BM) shipping company paid 35.5 million levs, Ivan Boiadjiev - head of the shipyard, said. The chairmen of BM shipping company held negotiations with the Central Cooperative Bank (CCB), Expressbank, DSK (State Savings Bank), Bulbank and Rosseximbank, to provide the money. They asked for an appointment with Finance Minister Milen Velchev to insist on a state guarantee to be granted a credit from a foreign bank. Ultimately, it was the Raiffeisenbank that gave the money. The first order was already made to the shipyard. Captain Geno Genov - director of the BM shipping company, met businessmen from Hamburg, who had preliminary agreement on building ships.
So, the venture may start working in a month.
Interdepartmental Working Group to Determine Validity of Russian Claim for Ownership of Bulgartabac Property.
Sofia, April 9 (BTA) - The Russian government has claimed in a note the ownership of some of Bulgartabac Holding Group's estates, Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Nikolai Vassilev said Tuesday.
The disputed estates used to belong to Germany's Reemsma during WWII.
An interdepartmental group has been set up to study the respective documents and to see if the claim is grounded, said Vassilev. A bilateral expert meeting on the matter is to be held next week.
Vassilev said that the claim will not affect the company's sale or its assets. He would not discuss the possible ways in which the problem could be settled until the validity of the Russian claim is determined.
A procedure for the privatization of Bulgartabac Holding Group was launched on March 25.
In Vassilev's words, the Russian claim has no bearing on the payment of the Russia debt to Bulgaria.
Cops Shopping Presents for Gen. Vassilev's Birthday.
Cops are hunting through the shops and feverishly selecting presents for the 52 anniversary of the head of the National Police Service (NPS) Gen. Vassilev, "Standart" was told. The birthday of No 1 Police Officer is today but the general is not in Sofia. He is to celebrate his anniversary together with his family and friends.
Radanova Won 4 Medals at the World Short-Track Championship.
Evgenia Radanova ranked third in the total competition during the World short-track championship in Montreal, Canada. She collected 55 points, behind the Chinese Yang Yang A (105 pts.). Apart of the silver at 500-m distance, she gained two more medals in the individual competitions in the last day. Radanova finished third with 1:35.185 min. at 1,000-m. Yang Yang A was again on the top with 1:34.732 min. At the 3,000-m final the Bulgarian took the second place with 5:22.718 min. In Montreal Radanova proceeded her successful presentation in 2002. She became European champion in Grenoble and won two Olympic medals in Salt Lake City- silver at 500-m and bronze at 1,000-m.
Parliament Adopts Unanimously Declaration Condemning All Forms of Racism, Xenophobia and Anti-Semitism.
Sofia, April 9 (BTA) - Parliament voted unanimously Tuesday a Declaration condemning all manifestations of racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism as a threat to the mainstays of the democratic civil society and as contradicting human moral and Euro-Atlantic values. The declaration was adopted at an official sitting at which the MPs marked Holocaust Remembrance Day.
"We mark this day to remember that genocide against peoples and ethnic groups should never happen again," the Declaration says.
The Declaration points out that Bulgarians should be proud that they protected their Jews during World War Two. This was an expression of traditional Bulgarian tolerance for ethnic and religious minorities, the Declaration says.
National Assembly Chairman Ognyan Gerdjikov said that Holocaust Remembrance Day is an appeal to mankind not to allow such madness again and to wage a resolute struggle against all forms of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia.
Gerdjikov pointed out that Bulgaria cherishes the memory of the Jews who died and that Bulgaria and Denmark were the only European countries to save their Jews.
Lawyers, writers, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, politicians of different parties declared themselves against the preparations of the deportation of the Bulgarian Jews. The then head of state King Boris III also played a decisive role, Gerdjikov said. The Bulgarian Jews were saved thanks to the Bulgarian people who, true to their traditions of tolerance, did not allow the sending of their Jewish compatriots to the Nazi death camps.
Gerdjikov said this glorious chapter in Bulgarian history is receiving growing international recognition. By way of illustration he pointed to the bust of Dimiter Peshev, deputy chairman of the 21st National Assembly, at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Together with 42 MPs Peshev organized the campaign against the deportation of the Bulgarian Jews.
"We should be proud that Bulgaria's centuries-old traditions of mutual respect, tolerance and understanding among different religions and ethnic groups that led to the saving of its Jews are now finding expression in the building of the new ethnic model," Gerdjikov said. This valuable achievement of democratic Bulgaria preserved us as an isle of peace and stability in the troubled Balkans, Gerdjikov said.
Despite the lessons of the Holocaust, mankind has still not freed itself of manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and anti-Semitism, Gerdjikov said, adding that the developments in the Middle East give rise to great concern in this respect. Gerdjikov pointed out that the escalating terror and the violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot solve the problems between them, as these problems have no military solutions but should be solved by means of dialogue and political, economic and social measures.